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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #1
When I started riding last October, I immediately bought a set of gear with both jacket and pants of the Tourmaster variety.

I chose the Caliber pant (awful garbage, see my previous review) and the Transition 4 jacket. They zip together.

The Tourmaster Transition 4 jacket has held up well, and been a remarkable value. I feel comfortable endorsing it as a starting jacket for a new rider, since that's what I was a year and ~13000 miles ago. Just...maybe if you live in the desert, try to find something with more ventilation - more on that below.

I've ridden almost every day since then. Lots of to and from work. Lots of weekend trips, both long and short.

I haven't ridden in the greatest variety of weather. Being based in the desert, I've mostly seen hot, dry, and dry, slightly-below-freezing to moderately-cold temperatures, with light or no precipitation. Rain is mostly confined to certain times of year; I've yet to be caught in a real downpour. I can therefore speak to the cold-weather performance of the jacket, but have no direct experience with its waterproof-ness.

The Transition 4 has a textile shell, which would become soaked in a heavy rain. It also has a water-resistant, permanently-installed lining. This does impair the breathability. I'll be shopping for a new jacket for that reason alone, before next summer.

That's because in the summer, this jacket is HOT. Damn hot! I don't want to suffer through another New Mexico summer in it. The shoulder and back vents do help, but you're going to be toasty. Soak a neck gaiter (like the excellent Mission Multicool) and your T-shirt for best results. In summer stop-and-go traffic, you still gon' sweat. A lot.

Since I've only owned the one set of gear, I can't say how the Transition 4 compares to other jackets in the heat. But there are definitely lighter-weight jackets, without built-in waterproofing, and with more venting.

There are also mesh jackets, but those aren't a great idea for desert summers.

In cold weather, the zip-in thermal liner helps. It's not very thick, and is nothing space-age. Just light polyester stuffing in a nylon shell. Still, every layer counts. It's pretty quick & easy to install or remove the liner.

One advantage of the waterproofing liner and general heaviness of the jacket: with vents closed, wind doesn't have a chance. I bet you could ride through a snowstorm without a single flake getting in.

Again due to the generally heavy fabric, you won't have trouble with loose jacket material flapping in the wind. There are snaps on the arms to buckle down any excess material. I haven't needed them, as my massive powerlifter meathooks fill the sleeves out nicely. ;)

Fit is partly up to you. I have a 46" chest, wear size 40 pants, and bought the jacket in 2XL. Under it, I have room for a thermal shirt & sweater, even with the thermal liner installed. I'm sure you could easily fit an electric vest in there. Hook and loop tabs at the waist give you some room to adjust for extra layers and...uh, "jacket shrinkage."

This roominess does help a bit in the heat, as does the mesh lining. There's room for moist air to circulate and cool off one's core on a 100-degree desert day.

Despite heavy use, no part of the jacket is all that worn. Some of the hook & loop doesn't hold quite as well as it did when new, but not to the point that I've had it replaced. The main visible signs of wear are on the sleeves. There is some roughing and pilling of the fabric near the sleeve cuffs. The latter is probably from contact with my full-gauntlet gloves, which I always wear over the sleeve. You'd have room to tuck the gloves inside the sleeves if you wanted.

Often, on the less-expensive gear, you hear about things like zippers and pocket linings wearing out early. None of mine have, I'm happy to say. I don't keep pointy rocks in any of the pockets, but I do stash my house keys and extra motorcycle keys in some of them. No holes have been poked in pocket linings yet, nor do I feel any holes developing. All zippers still work 100%, including the water-resistant ones.

The jacket doesn't have any special provisions for use of heated gear, like you find on some of the higher-end stuff. I simply ran the cable for my heated gloves out the bottom.

The included shoulder & elbow armor is fairly ordinary, CE-1 rated padding. It's reasonably easy to remove for washing. Speaking of which, I've washed the jacket three times since I bought it. Machine washings with cold water and Woolite, and letting it dry while lying flat, have been kind to the jacket.

The back armor is kind of a joke, just thin foam. It doesn't even have a CE rating. You might want to supply your own back plate. I started wearing a Helite Turtle airbag vest, which has a Sas-Tec 1621-2 rated back plate built in. I took out the Tourmaster foam back pad.

I haven't tested the rain hood built into the collar, since as I said I've never yet ridden in heavy rain. In theory, the hood keeps water from dripping off your helmet and down the back of your neck. Seems like a worthwhile feature.

The zip-in collar extension is hugely beneficial to comfort in colder weather. With hook 'n' loop you can adjust its tightness. The material stops the wind and keeps the cold off your neck reasonably well, while providing a super comfortable barrier between your chin and the collar. In sub-zero, windy conditions, you might still want something like a Windjammer or Aerostich's Fleece Wind Triangle to protect your neck.

That's all I can think of for now. If you can think of something I didn't cover, just ask!
 

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Farkle Purchasing System
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Discussion Starter #3
The lightest jacket you can get with the most ventilation, that isn't mesh.

The issue with mesh is that it ventilates TOO much. In desert heat, the large amount of dry hot air, especially at highway speeds over a long distance, can evaporate ALL your sweat, leaving you dehydrated. You can even get heat stroke. Not based on my research - this is advice from much more experienced folks, like David Hough in Proficient Motorcycling.

There is a jacket out there with mesh panels that can be opened a little or covered completely. That might be a good setup. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the model or brand name, and Google searches are coming up empty.

I might get a Motoport jacket. Since my current jacket isn't falling apart, and winter is Motoport's "slow" season, it won't be a problem to have to wait several weeks for production. Specifically, I'm thinking of the Motoport Ultra II Stretch jacket. I called Motoport a few months ago to discuss this, and we settled on the Stretch material as the best choice for me, here in the desert.

Another jacket I considered is the Aerostich Darien Light.

In either case, I'd get a color other than black, perhaps grey or tan.

I realize that those two options are expensive, high-end stuff. However, I'm sure there are lower-priced jackets that would also work.

You're going to be warm inside any jacket, in the summer desert. What you want to do is set up a micro-climate inside your jacket where water (from a pre-soaked neck gaiter and T-shirt, preferably) can evaporate away your body heat with the help of outside air circulating through. But not too much outside air. Also, you need to stop and re-wet your neck gaiter (minimum) and shirt periodically. I did so at every gas stop and before leaving work in the afternoon, back in the height of the heat.
 

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Darien Light is a very nice jacket. I have it and the regular Darien. I got both used for half or less than new. Lucky me.
I'm wearing a Bilt suit currently. A package than included jacket, pant, gloves and helmet for just over four hundred dollars.
The vote is still out on how good it is. I've yet to use the liners for cold weather. I do like the helmet so far but like the liners, it needs to be tested in cold weather.
The Aerostitch, Darien and Roadcrafter do work rather well in all conditions. Those are just parked in the closet for the time being. As is the couple of BMW sets.
I get good stuff on sale!
 

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I had a Transition I which I bought in '11 and used for about 50K miles. It wasn't as heavy (warm) as other jackets, but I use a heated liner. It has a lot of ventilation and depending on humidity, is good to 80 to 85 degrees F, I wear a mesh jacket on warmer days. Eventually the velcro for the wrists and neck cuffs wore out, and then the zipper broke. I also replaced the back protector. Water proofing isn't great. I bought a Transition III this spring. They're inexpensive and work well for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ah, BMW...they just don't make stuff for people my size.

I might still get a one-piece at some point (well, not a BMW one, obviously).

With the climate I live in, I've grown to prefer gear that provides only a tough outer shell + armor. If I need warmth, I'll layer under it & supplement with electric gear as required. If I need water resistance, I'll get a rain suit.

To me, here in the desert, the design choices often made in favor of waterproofing are not useful. They always end up hurting breathability & ventilation, are impractical (zip-in waterproofing), or decrease product durability (e.g. those tiny-toothed waterproof zippers).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My T3 is a total turd, unraveling and leaking after only 2 years......the previous one lasted even less.
I would be pleasantly surprised to get 2 years out of the jacket, since the matching pants only lasted a few months each pair. I would still be disappointed if it wore out within 2 years though.

I'll keep my Transition 4 as a backup for whatever I get to replace it. If nothing else, I'll have a loaner to give someone a ride in ...assuming my passenger is roughly my size. :)
 

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"My T3 is a total turd, unraveling and leaking after only 2 years......the previous one lasted even less."

I may be missing something but buying a copy of something that didn't work seems counter intuitive.
Kinda like ordering Menudo for brekky when the last time you tried it it made you throw up.:confused:

I don't care for the Aerostich Roadcrafter jacket as much as the Darien so I got another of the Darien style. I didn't care for the Darien pants as much as the Roadcrafter. If I buy 'Stitch pants again, they would be Roadcrafter.:grin2:
 

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"My T3 is a total turd, unraveling and leaking after only 2 years......the previous one lasted even less."

I may be missing something but buying a copy of something that didn't work seems counter intuitive.
Kinda like ordering Menudo for brekky when the last time you tried it it made you throw up.:confused:

I don't care for the Aerostich Roadcrafter jacket as much as the Darien so I got another of the Darien style. I didn't care for the Darien pants as much as the Roadcrafter. If I buy 'Stitch pants again, they would be Roadcrafter.:grin2:
The vendor and Tourmaster replaced it for me, hence why I have a 2nd. :wink2: Next jacket which will last me a very very very long time, bring on the Darien!!!
 

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Well, maybe not forever...Last time I washed the Darien in the recommended NikWax according to the instructions the seam tape was coming off many of the seams.
I suppose Aerostitch would iron new tape for a nominal $100 dollar donation.
Just don't wash it!
Although when I washed a Hein Gericke jacket it exploded in the machine too.
I liked that jacket too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yikes. Well that better not happen with my AD-1 Light pants.

I shouldn't need to wash them terribly often though. They don't have an extra, unneeded waterproofing liner, so I probably won't sweat in them nearly as much as I did my Tourmaster pants.
 

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I have a closet full of old gear. I have a leather jacket from my cruising days. I have a Gerbings heated jacket liner. An Olympia mesh jacket with a rain shield thermal liner hangs next to a 3/4 length Fieldsheer jacket. But the best I've found is my current jacket. It is an Olympia Nomad jacket that has zip down panels (front, back and under arms) that reveal mesh underneath. The rain liner and the thermal liner are separate and can zip in separately. It is truly a 4 season jacket. Plus Olympia seems to cut their sizes to be fat boy friendly, something that caused me to reject some other brands.
 
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